Loss To Chinese Taipei Was Turning Point: Thomas Cup Hero HS Prannoy To NDTV
In an exclusive chat with NDTV, HS Prannoy revealed how the loss to Chinese Taipei in the group stages was the turning point for the team at the Thomas Cup.
The Indian men's badminton team made history last week, winning its first-ever Thomas crown. India beat 14-time champions and holders Indonesia in the final to win a maiden gold medal at the tournament. It was the first time that India had even reached the final at Thomas Cup, but showed nerves of steel throughout in the final. On Sunday, NDTV caught up with one of the heroes of India's historic triumph -- HS Prannoy. The star shuttler revealed that the team's loss to Chinese Taipei in their final group match was the turning point as it provided them the spark to go all the way.
"I think Chinese Taipei was the turning point. If we had won against Chinese Taipei then probably we would not have won the Thomas Cup. We needed that realisation in between the tournament and that gave a huge spark to the entire team. They knew exactly what went wrong and we didn't want that to happen in the next three matches. And that was the turning point," Prannoy told NDTV.
Up against Chinese Taipei in the final Group C match, the Indian men's team fought hard with HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen and the doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila all losing their respective matches. Only Kidambi Srikanth could claim a victory over his opponent.
Following that loss to Chinese Taipei, India didn't look back. They breezed past Thailand 3-0 to set up a quarterfinal clash against Malaysia.
Against Malaysia, India were locked in a fierce battle with the scores tied at 2-2 after four matches. It all came down to Prannoy's match against Leong Jun Hao. The Indian, however, didn't disappoint as he registered a 21-13, 21-8 win to assure India a medal by reaching the semis.
India then overcame another stiff challenge in the form of Denmark with Prannoy once again winning the decisive match to take the team to its maiden final.
In the final, India produced some high-level badminton, blitzing the record champions 3-0 to script history.
Prannoy thanked the entire country for the support the team has received over the week.
"I think this is one of those moments which you always wanted to happen and it happened last week. I am really glad that lot of things came in place for this victory to happen. Thank you very much to the entire country for their whole support over the last week."
India's Thomas Cup heroes as well as the Uber Cup contingent met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday evening and spoke of how the PM instilled more confidence in the team.
"I think he (PM Modi) had conversations with all of us. He had in depth questions about the matches and how things went. I think it is really really happy place to be there where we really appreciate the amount of time he takes out from his busy schedule to meet all the players and he gave that support saying that this is the time we need to push and we are not going to stop from here and this is what we wanted to hear from him. I think that gave a lot of confidence to the entire team," said Prannoy.